Guest Opinion: What makes Sequim special?

Why do we live here? What brought us here — what attracted us to Sequim? Why do we stay?

Why do we live here? What brought us here — what attracted us to Sequim? Why do we stay?

Whether we’ve lived here for decades, several years or just a few months, we’ve all probably had this experience: A friend or acquaintance from somewhere else will ask (sometimes with a hint of exasperation or incredulity in their voice), “What’s so great about Sequim? What makes it so special?”

Such a small question and yet such a big one when you think about the wide range of histories and livelihoods of the folks who live in this community. Sequim has grown over the years from a small town to a small city. Like places that have made a similar transition, Sequim has retained some vestiges of its past, but also has had to adapt to lots of change.

Yet there’s something about this place that appeals, attracts and somehow grabs people.

Is it a “special brand of peace” that Wallace Turner mentioned in a New York Times special article abut Sequim almost 30 years ago?

What does that “special brand of peace” encompass? Turner suggested it was something more than just a “park bench in the sun” in the context of Sequim’s appeal to retirees, implying a desire on their part to be active, involved and engaged in the community they now called home.

Yet it’s easy to see this same desire — and sense of excitement and optimism — extending across all age groups.

Is that a key part of why each of us is here, why we put down new roots or rediscover established ones after we’ve lived other lives in other places? Has each of us, quite simply, found something (whatever it is) here that we didn’t find anywhere else?

In other words, what is it that we love about our community?

A couple of weeks ago, some of those core attributes mentioned above — community activism, involvement, engagement — were clearly evident at a workshop that explored these very questions.

Conducted by Peter Kageyama, the author of “For the Love of Cities” and “Love Where You Live,” the goal of the workshop was to help citizens of the community find ways to harness what we love about Sequim and turn it into more tangible action and results.

The most amazing thing about the workshop, though, was the energy and enthusiasm shared by more than 50 people from all across the community and the fun we had generating ideas for making Sequim an even better, more lovable, place than it already is and, in the process, increasing citizen engagement, ownership and emotional attachment to this place.

Sequim was fortunate to have Peter share his ideas, but he was only here for a day. And, indeed, much of what he touched on also is evident in all those small cities and towns across America that are busily (and successfully) shaping new, brighter futures for themselves and their citizens.

It’s now up to us to take what he shared, shape it into our own vision and set out on our own voyage of exploration and discovery. To help to do that, we’ll be holding our first “Conversation on Community” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at Rainshadow Coffee House.

It is by invitation only — and we invite all of you to join us. So please mark your calendar for good talk, good company, good coffee … and some fun!


CommunityPlus is an informal group of people whose mission is to generate a series of broad, inclusive conversations that lead to a shared understanding of who we are and a shared vision of how to make our community even better. If you’d like to know more, you can contact us at